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I always knew Cathy was crazy smart...



Great email from Cathy, thanks for posting. Can you "translate" what she is saying to the non-winemakers like us? I get the basic idea, but how does Cathy's process with ph and SO2 compare to other more commercialized wines?


Bernie and Eva


Hi there, well, the higher the pH the lower the acid, which means you have an unstable wine and also a wine that needs added acid--most of California. As the pH gets close to 4, you're in the definite danger zone, hers @ 3.3. seem good for Napa. But as she said, she doesn't add acid. Now with the SO2, conventional practice is to hit the grapes @ at grape crushing, then after alcoholic. Then during the élevage. Then @ bottling. A lot!

Amy Atwood

First off, thanks to Cathy for sharing her insights.
Agreed, it does seem that most of the 'bag of tricks' are pulled out in the cellar because of sloppy grapegrowing....but some winemakers seem to douse with S02 and acid as just a knee-jerk reaction. Sloppy grapegrowing in CA can also mean letting the grapes hang too long, therefore killing pH balance....not to mention those high alcohol levels. I enjoy many wines , some made with So2, some not. But I have to say that I have mad respect for winemakers who can pull off a stellar wine with no additions. They have to get everything right, no room for mistakes.

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I'm hunting the Leon Trotskys, the Philip Roths, the Chaucers and the Edith Whartons of the wine world. I want them natural and most of all, I want them to speak the truth even if we argue. With this messiah thing going on, I'm trying to swell the ranks of those who crave the differences in each vintage, celebrate nuance and desire wines that make them think, laugh, and feel. Welcome.

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